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Enjoying the good life with abandon but without any of the guilt.

Enjoying the good life with abandon but without any of the guilt.

I’ve really been slacking on posting vegetable recipes regularly. It has been ages since my last Veg of the Week post.  But this discovery is so fabulous it really deserves the special honour of being vegetable dish of the month. Actually this is my most exciting discovery this year.

Now I thought I would lure you in by describing this as a no-noodle lasagna. If I had been more forthcoming in my description, I am sure I would have scared you off. But now I have got you reading, I will reveal what the best replacement is for regular lasagna sheets. It is not zucchini (too moist), nor aubergine (too chewy) it is…. white cabbage.

Crazy I know! But believe me, it works!!

I will own up that I really do not like white cabbage. I am still haunted by childhood memories of limp, grey, funky smelling cabbage leaves wrapped around greasy, tasteless rice and mince. Couldn’t stand the stuff.

Never thought I would ever post a white cabbage recipe, but here I am raving about the stuff. Once you briefly blanch the leaves in boiling water and layer them with a Bolognese sauce and cheese, you have the most amazing carb-free lasagna. The cabbage leaves have a comforting bite that is similar to al dente pasta sheets; lightly chewy but soft at the same time.

You can stick to your regular recipe for traditional Bolognese sauce. Just make sure you meat sauce is on the dry side as the cabbage sheets will not soak up moisture as lasagna sheets do. For this dish I added plenty of mushrooms to bulk up the sauce with some extra fiber and minerals. As you are being unconventional already, I suggest you skip the effort of making a béchamel and give the below combination of ricotta, cottage and cream cheese a whirl. I really enjoyed both the texture and flavour it added to the dish.

The result is an amazing lasagna that has the same comfort as a regular lasagna but is just that little bit healthier. And like a regular lasagna I feel that this one tastes even better reheated the next day. So, make sure you make a double portion…. at least.

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Ingredients
(inspired by the blog ‘Simple Roots Wellness‘)
Serves 3-4

500g mushrooms
2 onions
2-3 garlic cloves
(300g-) 500g mince
1 can of peeled and chopped tomatoes
a pinch of chili flakes
1/2 tbsp honey
optional: a dash of Worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper
about 1/2 head of white cabbage (the outer leaves are a little handier then the ones closer to the core)
optional: 10g of chives
2 eggs
200g cottage cheese
100g ricotta cheese
100g (light) cream cheese
1 tsp mustard
100g cheese for grating

 

Recipe

Make the sauce

  1. Bring a very large pot of water to the boil (I use the largest pot I have.)
  2. Slice the mushrooms and fry them in a wide pot or large deep fry pan until just tender. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Chop the onion and fry in the same pan.
  4. When the onions are translucent, mince the garlic and add it. Stir until fragrant.
  5. Add the mince meat and stir, breaking it up, until the meat has just coloured.
  6. Add the tinned tomato.
  7. Season the sauce with chili, honey, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  8. Allow the sauce to simmer whilst preparing the rest of the dish. Stir once in a while and add a little water if it starts to get too dry. (When you assemble the lasagna the sauce should be quite thick as the cabbage leaves do not soak up liquid as regular lasagna sheets do.)

Prepare the cabbage

  1. Carefully peel the leaves off the head of cabbage. Cut out the thick ribs. You are looking for looking for the amount of leaves that will comfortably cover a teatowel when placed next to each other.
  2. Place the leaves into the boiling water until they turn opaque (about 2-3 min, but can vary depending on the amount of water). Using a slotted spoon remove the leaves and lay them on a kitchen towel to dry. Depending on the size of your pot you might have to do this in a few batches.

Make the sauce

  1. If using, chop the chives.
  2. Whisk together the two eggs.
  3. Add the ricotta, cottage and cream cheese and blend.
  4. Season with mustard, salt, pepper and add the chives.

Assemble the lasagna

  1. Heat the oven to 175C.
  2. Place 1/4 of the meat sauce in the bottom of a dish (about 20x35cm).
  3. Top with 1/3 of cabbage “noodles”.
  4. Add 1/4 meat sauce and 1/2 the cheese mix.
  5. Another layer using 1/3 of the “noodles”.
  6. 1/4 meat and the rest of the cheese mix.
  7. The rest of the “noodles”.
  8. The remainder of the meat.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20 min. The dish can be prepared until this step and then refrigerated to be finished another day.
  10. Grate the cheese and sprinkle on top.
  11. Bake for another 20 min.
  12. Allow to rest before 5-10 min before serving.

 


Serve with

  • A green salad made from lettuce leaves or green beans

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Some of the health benefits of cabbage

  • White cabbage are a Good source of vitamin C and folate and potassium
  • Cabbage is filled with antioxidant power. This enables our systems to fight free radicals and clear up toxins, including potential carcinogens.
  • The fiber in cabbage keeps your blood sugar levels from fluctuating and also regularizes bowel movements. Cabbage is anti – inflammatory vegetable
  • Eating cabbage may also reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke and cancer, specifically colon cancer.
  • It speeds healing of ulcers and improves digestive health.
  • Raw cabbage cleans the waste from the stomach and upper bowels which improves digestion and reduces constipation.
    (Source: tarladalal.com)

 

More recipes replacing carb with veg

 

 

ผัดไทย

ผัดไทย (Pad Thai) – bringing authentic Thai street food to your table – with a twist.

 

“Tick, tick, tick”-  that sound was my first encounter with Pad Thai.

It was a few lifetimes ago, on one of my first holidays outside Europe. I had been in the country only a few hours and was waking up from a jet lagged coma in a tiny Bangkok hotel room.

At first I wasn’t sure whether the “tick, tick, tick” belonged to the world of my dreams or this exotic foreign land. I lifted a dream heavy hand to pull back the curtains (not too hard to do, as the room was only a few centimetres wider than the bed). The world outside had changed whilst I had been napping:  night had fallen and the day’s desolate street had tuned into a bright and buzzing stage.

There was a crowd in a circle on the street below.  At the heart of all, there was a little aluminium cart. Blue flames licking a wok. A man industriously working a stir-fry.

“Tick, tick, tick” and moments later I was holding a little square plastic tub. At first I was a little disappointed, that all this anticipation delivered no more than a few noodles, some bits of chicken and a few diced veg. But then I used my flimsy chopsticks to slide a bite into my mouth; an amazing flavour explosion hit me: sweet first, followed by spicy- salty and then the lightest touch of sour.

I experimented for a while with different recipes to get as close as I could to the memory of that taste. This time I combined the traditional flavours of Pad Thai with one of my newer discoveries: zucchini noodles. I was amazed how well they worked in this dish. If you do not feel inclined to take a julienne cutter – even better a spiral cutter – to a zucchini, this recipe works just as well with the customary rice noodles.

A plate of Pad Thai always takes me down memory lane for a few moments. But then it mainly makes me smile at all those new discoveries and adventures that lie ahead.

Tamarind, fish sauce and brown sugar are a must, but the shrimp are optional

Tamarind, fish sauce and brown sugar are a must, but the shrimp are optional

 

Ingredients
Serves 2

1-2 zucchini (or rice noodles)
150g raw prawns
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp tamarind sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
pinch of dried chilli
optional: 2 level tbsp dried shrimp
spring onion
coriander
1/2 red onion or 1 shallot
2 garlic cloves
1 red chilli
black pepper
100g bean sprouts
2 eggs
peanuts
1 lime

 

Recipe

  1. If making zucchini noodles: Use a spiral- or julienne cutter to cut the zucchini into noodles. When using a spiral cutter, break the strands about three times as they are too hard to eat when they are too long.
  2. If using rice noodles: bring water to the boil and prepare the noodles according to packet instruction.
  3. Peel and devein the prawns.
  4. In a small pan combine the lime juice, fish sauce and tamarind sauce and brown sugar. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and taste – add more of any of the ingredients as you wish. Season with dried chilli to taste. Set aside.
  5. If using dried shrimp: Pour some of the boiling water on the shrimp. Allow to sit 10 minutes.
  6. Thinly slice the spring onion.
  7. Chop the coriander.
  8. Slice onion into very thin half moon slices.
  9. Deseed and chop the chilli.
  10. Fry onion, chilli, garlic on a high heat until just soft.
  11. Drain the dried pawns and add, keeping the heat high.
  12. Add the noodles to the hot pan. Heat until the zucchini wilts (You are looking for the texture of al dente pasta.)
  13. Add the sauce.
  14. Push the noodles to the side. Add the prawns and black pepper. Cook until the prawns are just pink.
  15. Toss in the bean sprouts. Move all to the side again.
  16. Add the eggs. Pierce the yolks and, when they start to set on the bottom, scramble. Stir vigorously until almost set and then mix into the noodles.
  17. Add half spring onion and coriander (and peanuts).
  18. Arrange on a serving plate and sprinkle with remaining spring onion and coriander (and peanuts).
  19. Cut the lime in the wedges and serve on the side.

Serve with

  •  this is a dish of its own right, but you can add
  •  steamed bok choy
  •  Thai fish cakes

 

Variations
Replace the prawns with a combination of chicken and tofu

Some of the health benefits
Click on the links to discover some of the health benefits of bean sprouts or zucchini

In this dish green (wood) red (fire) come together not to burn but to cool.

In this dish green (wood) red (fire) come together not to burn but to cool.

Preparing my previous post, in honour of the Lunar New Year, I discovered a world of traditions and beliefs that I knew hardly anything about. As the celebration of the Chinese New Year spans 15 days I thought I would take the chance to post some of the facts I discovered. But first about today’s recipe:

This salad with bean sprouts is one of these simple dishes that hardly deserve the name recipe, but it appears on my table regularly as it is quick, tasty and healthy. It goes wonderfully with Asian flavours and is a great contrast to hot and spicy foods. Every time I eat it I realize that I prepare bean sprouts much too rarely – they have such a delicate flavour and are so good for you.

And I decided it is the perfect dish to go with this post as the bean sprouts are combined with cucumber – green for wood – and tomatoes – red for fire – which come together into a wonderfully cooling salad for this fiery year.

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So here are 8 facts you might not know about the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Wood Horse (8 because that is a lucky number in China).

1) The Chinese zodiac – or Shēngxiào – is a calendar system originating in the Han dynasty (206-220BC), which names each of the years in its 12-year cycle after an animal: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, in that order. According to the system, the universe is made up of five elements – earth, water, fire, wood and metal – which interact with the 12 animals, resulting in the specific character of the year ahead. (Guardian)

2) Year of 2014 is Wooden Horse. Because Wood (tree) is connected to the color of Green. Therefore, 2014 is the Year of Green Wood Horse. (Chinese Fortune Calendar)

3)  Horse hour of Chinese Horoscopes is from 11am to 1 pm. Sunshine generates lots of heat during the Horse hour. Therefore, horse is connected to heat, fire and red.

4) Horses like the social activities, because horses like show off themselves. Since horse is a social animal and red is also connected to love, therefore. Horse is treated as a Romantic Star in Chinese Horoscope. (Apanache)

5) Horse is one of Chinese favorite animals. Horse provides people quick transportation before automobiles, so people can quickly reach their destinations. Horse even can help people to win the battle. Therefore Horse is a symbol of traveling, competition and victory. That’s why Horse is connected to speedy success in China. (Apanache)

6) But……Feng shui masters are talking about a hot – literally – 2014, with temperatures melting people’s brains and a propensity towards earthquakes and volcano eruptions.(RT)

7) It’s estimated that a sixth of the world celebrate Chinese New Year, including more than 1 billion Chinese citizens. Which results in one of the world’s largest human migration as Chinese workers travel home to their families for Chinese New Year. In 2010 an estimated 210 million hit the planes, buses and trains – the equivalent to the whole population of Brazil packing their suitcases. (Go Hong Kong)

8) And last but not least: foods to be eaten at New Year include

– uncut noodles – a symbol of longevity
– fish for abundance – as the word for fish in Chinese is a homophone for abundance
– fried egg rolls – a symbol of wealth as they look like gold bars
– dumplings – for wealth
– Shrimp – for happiness and joy
– Lettuce – for rising fortune as the word is near homophonous “to make money”
– Mandarins (especially with leaves intact) – for happiness
– Eggs – for prosperity

 

 

 

 

 

.

Ingredients

(adapted from ‘De complete Asiatische Keuken’)
Serves 3-4 as a side dish

150g green beans
100g bean sprouts
12 cherry tomatoes (about 150g)
1 cucumber
1 red chili
coriander or mint leaves
2 tbsp rice vinegar (alternatively apple vinegar)
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar

Recipe

  1. Bring some water to the boil.
  2. Cut the ends off the beans and cut them in half. Cook the beans 5-7 min in boiling water until barely tender (without the lid on the pot, to keep them green).
  3. Toss in the bean sprouts for the last 30 secs (this kills off any bacteria and in my opinion improves the taste).
  4. Drain the beans and sprouts and immediately rinse with cold water (or even cool in ice water).
  5. Cut the tomatoes in half and place into a salad bowl.
  6. Cut the cucumber into wedges. (Cut the cucumber in half, cut each half into four pieces lengthwise and then into slices.) Add to the tomatoes and then toss in the beans and sprouts.
  7. Chop the chili (Serve separate if the dish should not be spicy otherwise) Place in a small bowl and combine with rice vinegar, lime juice and sugar.
  8. Dish can be prepared a little ahead up to this point. When you are ready to serve, toss the vegetables with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  9. Chop mint or coriander leaves and sprinkle on top.


Tips & Variations

  • Add some cubed fresh cucumber
  • Dry fry some dried shrimp, grind to a powder and sprinkle on top
  • Add some chili sauce to the dressing

Serve with

The variations are endless, but I found this salad goes well with

  • Rich and spicy coconut curries
  • Thai Fish Cakes

The 8 bullets on the Lunar New Year are enough facts for one post. I will share with you how incredibly healthy bean sprouts are another time J

The colours of the holiday season: red, green and white

The colours of the holiday season: red, green and white

The Christmas tree lights are all packed away again, but I am not quite ready to let go of the cozy feeling that comes with the holiday season. So I have dimmed all the light and dotted candles around the room. For this week’s vegetable post, I had to pick something that reminded me of Christmas on a plate – it had to be a red cabbage dish.
Since I was a child, most Christmases there has been a bowl of ‘Rotkohl’ with apples steaming on the table. And for years I enjoyed turning even the most rushed winter weekday meal into a little feast by popping open a jar of red cabbage. Because I will admit that for a long time I usually served cabbage from a jar. I did try braising it a few times, but was always a little disappointed with the end result. But then I discovered this fabulous recipe. The secret seems to be to in only briefly searing the cabbage. (With the extra added bonus that the cabbage retains its amazing amounts of nutrients).
The other wonderful thing about this dish is that it combines this wintery vegetable beautifully with the green fresh flavours of plenty of herbs. Every spoonful holds a little promise of warmer, sunny times to come.

It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness - Eleanore Roosevelt

It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness – Eleanore Roosevelt

Ingredients
(adapted from the blog ‘Soup Addict’ which in turn used the recipe from Deborah Madison’s ‘Vegetable Literacy’)
Serves 2
100g Greek yoghurt (I like Total 0% fat)
50-100ml buttermilk (amount depends on the yoghurt used)
salt, pepper
250g (2 cups) of red cabbage
1 small red onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh dill
1 tbsp fresh mint
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley

Recipe
1. Mix the yoghurt with just enough buttermilk so it begins to become runny.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Grate the red cabbage.
4. Chop the red onion.
5. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
6. Add the onion and fry gently until translucent.
7. Add the cabbage, squeeze in the garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir immediately and keep stirring until wilted. The cabbage should not be cooked for too long just two to four minutes should be enough.
8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in a little lemon juice. Taste and add a little more lemon, salt or pepper as desired.
9. Reserve some of the dill tops and chop the rest together with the mint and parsley.
10. Toss the cabbage with the herbs.
11. Plate the cabbage and drizzle with the yoghurt sauce.
12. Scatter with the reserved dill tops.
.

Serve with
Roast Mustard Chicken and some Cauliflower Puree
• Or a piece of chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto baked in the oven or just a simple steak

Tips & Variations
Add some more flavour to the yoghurt sauce

• Add some more flavour to the yoghurt sauce with some finely chopped garlic or
• Tahini paste
• Replace the sauce with crumbled feta cheese

Some of the health benefits
Low in fat – Red cabbage is low in calories, and is a rich source of vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin C – The best-known sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, so it may be a surprise to learn that 1 cup of chopped red cabbage has 56 percent of the recommended daily intake of this important vitamin. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights inflammation and protects cells from damage that leads to chronic health conditions, such as heart disease. Your body needs vitamin C to make collagen, which is the connective tissue that gives structure, strength and support to muscles, skin, bones and other tissues throughout the body. Collagen is also essential for the process of healing wounds. Vitamin C also strengthens the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells that fight invading bacteria and infections. (healthyeating.sfgate)

Anti-aging effect – Red cabbage is a wonderful source of Vitamin C, which helps in anti-oxidation and is therefore involved in maintaining beautiful skin and delaying aging naturally. The outer leaves are rich in Vitamin E, which aids in producing a glowing complexion.

Good for the Eyes and Skin –  Red cabbage is a rich source of vitamin A, which is involved in maintaining clear eye sight. Vitamin A also acts as a natural moisturizer, keeping your skin smooth and supple.

Boosts Immunity –  Red cabbage is an abundant source of Vitamin E, and thus helps in immunity building, DNA repair, and other metabolic processes. Red Cabbage boosts the immune system’s ability to produce more antibodies.

Cleanses the body –  Red cabbage contains large quantities of sulphur, and other minerals that work as cleansing agents for the digestive system. Raw red cabbage (incorporated into your diet in salads) cleans the bowels, thus preventing indigestion and constipation

Anti-cancer properties – Researchers have recently identified 36 different varieties of anti- cancer chemicals in red cabbage. This beneficial property is due to the high content of anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids that has been linked to cancer protection. Some varieties of anthocyanins have double the antioxidant effect of vitamin C. Red cabbage is also a good source of indoles, compounds that may reduce the risk of breast cancer by altering estrogen metabolism.

Prevents Osteoporosis – Like many other vegetables, red cabbage is a good source of calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral for people of every age, as it aids in the strengthening of bones and teeth. Proper intake of calcium-rich foods at a young age is important to help overcome osteoporosis during old age.

Reduces Alzheimer’s risk – The building up of certain plaques in the brain is found to be the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease. In a study conducted by researchers, the consumption of red cabbage in test individuals noticeably reduced the formation of these plaques. Red cabbage, unlike white or green varieties, has a higher concentration of natural anthocyanins that helps protect against this form of dementia.
(greenparenthood)

The magical flavours of the Middle East

The magical flavours of the Middle East


I cannot believe that I have been posting “Vegetable of the Week” recipes for a while now and I have not yet shared this favourite of mine with you. This is one of these minimum effort, maximum taste dishes: whip this up at the last minute to go with your week night meal, or prepare it ahead as part of a fabulous dinner party spread.

The flavours have a hint of the Middle East which makes this a fabulous side dish for spicy lamb chops with cauliflower couscous, for example. But you can also keep it simple and just serve this up with some rice, a steamed chicken breast or a piece of fish.

Ingredients
(From “delicious – simpel & stijlvol”)
Serves 2

2 tbsp olive oil
1tsp lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider (or white wine) vinegar
1 tsp honey
¼ tsp mild paprika powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 carrots
10 radishes
flat-leaf parsley
salt

Recipe

  1. Put a pot of water on to boil.
  2. Make the dressing by whisking together the oil, lemon, vinegar, honey, paprika, cumin and cinnamon.
  3. Cut the carrot into very thin slices.
  4. Blanch the carrot for 2 minutes in the boiling water. Drain and briefly rinse with cold water.
  5. Mix the hot carrots with the dressing and allow them to cool down at room temperature.
  6. Cut radishes into thin slices.
  7. Chop the parsley.
  8. Combine the carrot, radish with 2/3 of the parsley.
  9. Place on a serving platter and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.


Serve with

Some of the health benefits of carrots

  • Good for your eyes – rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.
  • Reduces the risk for cancer – with falcarinol and falcarindiol
  • Anti-Aging – The high level of beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells. And Vitamin A and antioxidants protects the skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of vitamin A cause dryness to the skin, hair and nails. Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, and uneven skin tone.
  • Prevent Heart Disease – Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein.(source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-benefits-of-carrots.html)
The comfort of home in a bowl of chicken soup

The comfort of home in a bowl of chicken soup

I have to admit something: I do not understand soup. Yes, I enjoy a delicious small drop in an amuse glass, but anything else seems like a waste of an opportunity to eat something ‘proper’ – I want to bite into my food; not drink it.

But here I was cooking soup…and you know how I got there?

Well, despite the fact that I live in a big city, it is more like a village sometimes.
Let me explain:

When I walk through town I might have to dodge hordes of tourists,  but as soon as I get close to home I recognize, and greet, the old lady walking her dog; I catch a glimpse of my neighbour through the window and he waves at me; I chat to the guy next door as she we let ourselves in the house.

I might live in the center of a buzzing city full of distractions, but my little neighbourhood is a quiet, friendly and warm community. We know each other by name and we take care of each other.

So when I go food shopping I sometimes take a list from the elderly lady down-stairs. When I make a special treat, I take some if down stairs for her. But then, when she is ill, she does not like to eat. It becomes unbearable to watch her shrinking even further… so I had to bring out the big guns and resort to my mother’s secret weapon: Chicken Soup.

….and my neighbour got better……

So, although I might not like soup, how could I not share the recipe for this miracle cure for all ailments – a common cold, a nasty flue, a hangover and even the blues.

 

Ingredients
1 organic chicken (preferably a soup chicken, but a regular one will do)
250g of mixed soup vegetables (onion, carrot, leek, celery, parsley)
optional: 1 potato
1 cube of chicken stock
100g crème fraîche
2 tbsp flour
optional: cooked spagetthi or vermicelli
parsley

Recipe

  1. Put the chicken in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a simmer.
  2. Chop and add the vegetables (and potato if using).
  3. Cook for about 60 min for a soup chicken or 30 min for regular chicken.
  4. Remove the chicken from the stock and allow the meat to cool enough to handle.
  5. In the meanwhile pour the stock through a sieve into another pot.
  6. Rub the vegetables trough the sieve into the stock.
  7. Add the stock cube.
  8. Add the flour to the crème fraîche and blend.  Then stir in a few tbs of the stock at a time until the crème fraiche is smooth and runny (this is to avoid lumps when you add it to the stock).
  9. Stir the crème fraiche into the stock.
  10. Allow the soup to simmer for about 10-15 min, until there is no taste of flour left.
  11. Optional: cut the spaghetti or vermicelli into small pieces and carefully reheat in the soup.
  12. Pluck the chicken meat off the bone (resist nibbling on it).
  13. Add the meat to the soup.
  14. Chop the parsley and stir most of it into the soup.
  15. Serve with a sprinkling of parsley.
Summer days on a plate

Summer days on a plate

What a summer! Full of experiences which left little time for cooking and blogging. But cooler air and quieter days have returned and I am looking forward to pottering around in the kitchen again.

When times are as busy as they have been lately, this tuna pasta sauce is one of my go-to dishes. All the ingredients come straight out of the storage cupboard and it takes hardly any effort or time to throw together. As I try to get as many vegetables on my plate as possible I serve it on a tiny portion of spaghetti with a big pile of zucchini “pasta”.

The reason why this recipe is at top of my lists to share, is because it is a big thank you to my friend LL for the lovely visit I had with her in Italy at the beginning of the summer. This recipe (originally her mother’s) takes me straight back to the early years of our friendship:  she made this dish a few times before we went out for a night on the town.

Thank you L for all those long years of friendship…and this fab sauce recipe (and apologies if it is not quite the same as you taught me all those years ago) 🙂

Strolling through Cervia

Strolling through Cervia

Ingredients
Serves 1-2

1 onion
oil
1 clove of garlic
1 can of good quality tuna (I have to admit that using a tuna on a good olive oil tastes best but I tend to use tuna packed with only a few drops of water)
1 can of tomato
1/2 tsp vegetable stock powder / cube
chili flakes
salt, pepper
1/3 – 1/2 portion of whole wheat spaghetti
1 zucchini
optional: parmesan cheese

Recipe

  1. Chop the onion. Fry in a saucepan in a little oil.
  2. Squeeze in the garlic and fry until golden.
  3. Drain and add the can of tuna.
  4. Chop the tomatoes and add with the juice.
  5. Season with stock powder, chili flakes, salt and pepper.
  6. Allow to simmer, stirring once in a while.
  7. Bring a large pot of water to the boil add plenty of salt.
  8. Using a julienne peeler* cut the zucchini into strips.
  9. Add pasta and cook.
  10. 2 minutes before the pasta is done add the zucchini strips.
  11. Sprinkle with parmesan shavings.


Tips

The only thing I use my julienne peeler for is to cut zucchini into pasta. Nonetheless I find it totally worth having. I love the fact that it lets me have all the joy of eating pasta with all the health benefits of eating vegetables.
If you do not have a julienne peeler, you can also use a regular peeler or knife to cut the zucchini into thin ribbons.